LeBron James breaks his silence on manager Maverick Carter placing bets with illegal bookie

Peter Dewey
5 Min Read
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James spoke out about his manager and business partner Maverick Carter reportedly admitting to betting on NBA games through an illegal bookie.

Carter admitted to it in an interview with federal agents, according to Gus Garcia-Roberts of the Washington Post.

“Carter and his attorneys told investigators, the records show, that he placed approximately 20 bets on football and basketball games over the course of a year, with each bet ranging from $5,000 to $10,000,” Garcia-Roberts wrote. “An indictment in the case states that in November 2019, amid the Lakers’ championship season, [Wayne] Nix’s partner Edon Kagasoff told a ‘business manager for a professional basketball player’ via text that he could increase his wagers up to $25,000 on NBA games.”

James shared that he was not aware that Carter had placed bets with an illegal bookie, and the Lakers superstar doesn’t seem to be too concerned about the incident. James pointed out that sports gambling is now legal in many places in the United States and that Carter is “his own man.”

“No,” James said when asked if he was concerned about the perception of Carter’s admission. “Because that’s the only reason it got any legs in the first place, because he’s so close to me. But Maverick’s his own man and at the end of the day, gambling is legal. I mean, you can go on your phone right now and do whatever you want. And he has no affiliation with the NBA or NFL, so, he can do what he wants to do.”

Since Carter does not have affiliation with the NBA or NFL – outside of the fact that he and James are business partners and close friends – he did not break any law with the NBA or National Basketball Players Association. The NBPA doesn’t allow agents (Rich Paul in James’ case) to bet on the NBA, and Carter does not fit that description.

The issue for Carter appears to be that the bets he placed were through an illegal bookie and not the various sportsbooks that are now legal in the United States.

Carter apparently communicated with Nix, a bookie who was involved in an offshore sports-betting ring. Nix has since pled guilty to charges against him.

“Carter acknowledged that he knew Nix was involved in gambling and said Nix owed him money from both poker and football,” Garcia-Roberts wrote. “The 20 bets he placed through Nix were on college football, the NFL and the NBA, Carter told the agents, and he said he would text Nix his bets or place them directly through Sand Island Sports, the Costa Rican website Nix used. Carter said he didn’t know of Edon Kagasoff.

“Carter said he paid and received winnings from Nix via wire transfers and cash, identifying one of his employees who he said handled the cash drops. The federal agents asked Carter if he had been ‘truthful and not misleading’ in any of his responses, according to the investigative report, and Carter said he was.”

The longtime business partner of James also shared that he deleted Nix’s number from his phone after learning that he was being investigated by the government.

Carter’s name certainly carries weight in this story because of his relationship with James, but there is nothing that the Lakers superstar did wrong in this instance.

Right now, James is focused on the 2023-24 season and Lakers, who are looking to make a deep playoff run after making the Western Conference Finals last season.

This season, James has been on top of his game even though he’s 38 years old. The four-time champion is averaging 24.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 55.9 percent from the field and an impressive 39.6 percent from beyond the arc.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.